Allen Hurley McNair
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 5' 6", Weight 150 lb.
- Debut 1920
- Final Game 1937
- Born October 28, 1888 in Marshall, TX USA
- Died December 2, 1948 in Kansas City, MO USA
After a nomadic and far-from-stellar decade in the 1910s, outfielder Hurley McNair became an all-around star in the first years of the Negro National League. McNair was the first player in the history of the Kansas City Monarchs to get five hits in a game. He led the league at least twice in triples, doubles and walks and at least once each in total bases, hits and OBP. In the Negro Leagues, he hit .321, 15th all-time.
McNair served at Fort Steven Little in Nogales, Arizona as part of the all-black Twenty-Fifth Infantry Wreckers. He began his professional baseball career with the Chicago Giants in 1911. He hit .232 for the club the next year, then moved to the Brooklyn Royal Giants. In 1914, he returned to Chicago and hit .231 as the cleanup hitter and right fielder for the 1915 Chicago American Giants. He moved to the All-Nations team in 1917 and the Detroit Stars in 1919.
At age 31, McNair finally emerged as a star, upon joining the Monarchs. He hit .332 and led the 1920 Negro National League in doubles (20) and triples (8) while finishing fifth with 10 steals. In an exhibition that off-season against white major leaguers, he went 2 for 12. He also starred in the 1920-1921 California Winter League, hitting .313/?/.534 and leading the league in doubles (11) while tying Dobie Moore for the triple lead (6). His two home runs were second to Bullet Rogan.
In 1921, the Kansas City left fielder hit .341/.383/.521 and led the league in hits (131), fifth in homers (9), third in triples (11) and runs (77) and tied three others for the lead in doubles (20). His 200 total bases edged Tank Carr by one. He even pitched, going 1-1 with a 5.21 ERA in four games on the mound. He was 5 for 17 in exhibitions against Bill Pertica and Red Oldham. In the California Winter League that year, he batted .287/?/.484 and again hit six triples to tie for the league lead; this time he was even with Oscar Charleston.
In 1922, the 34-year-old veteran batted .372/.468/.575 with 68 runs (second in the league to Charleston), 8 home runs (third-most) and 43 walks (leading the NNL). He also led the league in OBP. On the downside, he led league left fielders in errors (10) in an otherwise great campaign.
During 1923, he hit fourth or third for the Monarchs as they won their first title. He helped out with a .327/.406/.481 batting line. He scored 82 runs (second behind Heavy Johnson, legged out 10 triples (tying Newt Joseph and George Shively for third behind Turkey Stearnes and Johnson), drove in 65, had 123 hits (third in the NNL), was 8th in average, 9th in slugging, 4th in OBP, fifth in total bases (181), stole 23 bases (second to Charleston) and tied Charleston for the league lead with 49 walks.
In 1924, McNair hit .346. In the first Negro World Series, he only went 5 for 35, but he saved game three defensively when he threw out Judy Johnson at home in the 12th inning. That winter, Hurley hit .407/?/.525 for the Los Angeles White Sox in the California Winter League, finishing second to Moore in batting average.
McNair batted .365 in 1925 and tied Moore for the NNL lead with 13 triples in his last big year, at age 37. He went 6 for 16 in the playoffs and 6 for 22 in the 1925 Negro World Series, second-best on the club.
Hurley batted .289 in 1926 but only was 2 for 29 in the playoffs as Kansas City fell. He hit .275 in his last year with the Monarchs, then returned to Detroit in 1928 to bat .274. He then stayed in a bit role over the next decade.
He was tied for fifth all-time in the Cal Winter League in triples with 12, even with Cool Papa Bell and Irish Meusel. His overall average in the CWL was .322 with a .513 slugging percentage in 79 games. In 99 AB in the league against white major league pitchers, he hit .303/?/.485. He had 10+ AB against Ray Keating (.250/?/.438), Sloppy Thurston (.235/?/.471), Red Oldham (.308/?/.462) and Wheezer Dell (.416/?/.667).
After retiring as a player, McNair worked as an umpire in the Negro American League. He was once chased around the field by players wielding bats, who backed away after he pulled a knife on them.
McNair helped teach Willie Wells how to hit the curveball. He was known as a moody, self-centered person who did things his way. He once also supposedly homered when he grabbed a fungo bat, rushing to the batter's box as he had been getting a drink of water when his turn came.
- NNL On-Base Percentage Leader (1922)
- 2-time NNL Bases on Balls Leader (1922 & 1923)
- Won one Negro World Series with the Kansas City Monarchs in 1924.
- The Complete Book of Baseball's Negro Leagues by John Holway
- The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues by James Riley
- research by Gary Ashwill
- The California Winter League by William McNeil
- 1923 Negro National League Yearbook, by Peter Ventura and Patrick Rock, Replay Publishing